I just saw "Breaking Dawn" part 1, and I was VERY impressed, even if as a man I am probably not the most typical fan of "Twilight" series. I rather liked all the "Twilight" movies until now and this one is, to my personnal taste, as good as the previous ones - and even in one aspect a little bit better, as Edward and Bella finally become lovers. Below, you will find a short description of what I believe are the best elements of this film, with very limited SPOILERS:
1. Actors. All actors evolved as the serie continued and I believe they all got better with time. Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are both excellent, but - in my humble opinion - it is Kristen Stewart who in this movie shines the most. Quite a lot of people frequently criticized her actorship claiming that she simply can not play at all and has a very limited assortment of expressions in her tool box. But for me, after reading "Twilight" books, this is how the character of Bella should be. I can hardly picture her wide smiling with all her teeth bared or doing any other highly extraverted things like that. In fact I believe that either by design or by accident Kristen Stewart got the things right about this character - her minimalistic approach to facial expressions actually makes (for me) Bella very believable and also quite likeable. In this part of the story, Bella shows a more dynamic approach to life by taking her destiny firmly under control. She makes important decisions and takes extreme risks, stubbornly resisting the opposite advice of all her family and friends - all of that in a deceptively unassuming way... And Kristen Stewart acted in the movie exactly as I pictured Bella did it, when I read the books. A very good job!
Other actors are also great, with Ashley Greene and Billy Burke being as usual the pillars - but amongst the supporting roles it is Nikki Reed who really gets the most praise from me. She has a much bigger role in this film and she is perfect in it! The one (little) disappointment is Jackson Rathbone, who changed comletely his haircut for this film and as a result his character, Jasper, seems much less impressive, which is a pity. He also seems to appear very little in the "first line", almost as if the director preferred to hide him a little...
2. Visual aspects. As usual, the images of state of Washington are great - dark forests filled with (were)wolves are very much present here and they are a great background for the story. The tropical island where Bella and Edward spend their honey moon is also very pleasantly showed.
3. Music. As usual in those series, music and songs have been selected very carefully and with a great taste.
4. The (were)wolf pack. The Quileute wolves are shown here even more and better than in the previous part. The scene of their war council, when they are all in the werewolf form, is absolutely great! The scene when Sam (the alpha male) asserts and confirms his power over the pack is excellent - as good as the description of Jacob's defiance and its consequences.
5. The wedding. A very nice and moving scene with some humour elements, especially when the guests make speeches offering toasts. Emmett, Jessica and Bella's father give here a great show. In the same time Mike Newton obsesses on vampire bridesmaids from the Denali clan, to the point of drooling (and I TOTALLY understand him!). Bella's mum and, suprprise surprise, Rosalie (!) are also real treasures in wedding scenes.
6. Quileute wolves vs. Cullen coven confrontation. This heartbreaking, tense and at moments violent conflict in which both sides are trapped against their will is a great moment in the Twilight saga - and its final resolution is even better! Finally it is true what the Beatles were singing - all you need is love! Babies help too...
7. The fight for Bella's life, Renesmee's bloody birth and Bella's fate - excellent! Those were moments very difficult to film - but the challenge was met succesfully! Nothing more about it to avoid more spoilers, but I was very impressed!
Conclusion: it is an excellent movie which I watched with great pleasure. My wife, who usually is a much harder person to please, loved it too and she is going to see it again with some girlfriends. And we will certainly both wait with great expectations for the "Breaking dawn" part 2. If it was done as well as that one, it will be certainly worth waiting one year to see it...
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON BLU-RAY (21 March 2012): This item has a printing error on the outer packaging which lists a special feature that is not included. This feature is listed as: "Filming The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1: A New Beginning, The Wedding, The Honeymoon". According to amazon, this feature was never meant to be on the Blu Ray version and was only ever present on the 2 disc special edition. However, after buying it, I received from amazon a message informing me, that the distributor is producing a disc with the special feature on it FOR FREE for customers who would like it. I was instructed just to email my amazon order number and my adress to the distributor to receive the upgraded Bly Ray disc FREE of any charge, including shipping.